MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WPDE) - It's estimated a quarter of brides are choosing destination wedding over a traditional hometown affair. To make the process easier, a local developer created a free smartphone app for those who want to plan a wedding on the Grand Strand. It's called the Myrtle Beach Virtual Wedding Mall and it's already proven useful for many brides.
The Myrtle Beach area is the ideal setting for a destination wedding; nice weather for most of the year and a picturesque background for those coveted wedding photos.
Wedding planner Linda Gross runs Lover's Lane Weddings and caters to the out of town bride. They make up about 95% of her clients.
"Once they have booked their wedding with me helping them with all the incidentals like hotels, florists, any of the vendors that they may need," said Gross.
Today the average wedding is estimated to cost nearly $30,000 and that's not including the honeymoon. For brides on a tight budget Gross offers several packages and even a drive-through chapel.
For the tech savvy bride who wants to takes the reigns for herself and save money, the Myrtle Beach Virtual Wedding Mall offers a one stop shop for everything she may need. Rather than try her luck on the internet the app offers access to approved vendors in the palm of her hand.
"It's real simple. It brings everything together and it allows a bridge right from her smart phone to coordinate all of the critical parts of a wedding," said Ryan Mulqueen. "There's an idea gallery which gives a bride some inspirational thinking on how they might want to theme their wedding.
App creator Dawn Stark said she created the app because there was a need for it. With a background in wedding photography she knew how to cater to brides. Stark has gotten a lot of positive feedback about the app.
Since its release in February, there have been more than 200 downloads and businesses continue to sign on to be a part of it.
"A lot of people have said man I wish I had something like this when I was getting married," added Mulqueen. "I think it's great that there's some smart new technology coming to Myrtle Beach. I think it's a wonderful opportunity to help grow the destination bride industry within Myrtle Beach and we're eager to see how it works."
You can download the MB Virtual Wedding Mall app for your iPad, iPhone or Android.